China: Beijing

Program Snapshot
Semester: Fall, Spring, or Full Year
Offered: Annually
Estimated Dates: Fall: late August to mid-December, Spring: mid-February to late May
Program Focus: Language Intensive
Prerequisites: Completion of Chinese 202 or equivalent. GPA of 3.0 in language study. Students must satisfy the Words and Numbers CORE requirement before participating in an overseas program.
Housing: Dormitories
Campus Contact: Keith Dede
Professor of Chinese, 503-768-7445

Program Design

In cooperation with CET, Lewis & Clark offers a semester or a full-year program in Beijing at the Chinese Language Training Center on the campus of Capital Normal University. Study focuses on language immersion and developing linguistic competency. The program rigorously enforces a language pledge that requires the use of the target language throughout the program.  Independent study trips to other sites in China, as well as excursions to historical sites of interest in and near Beijing, enhance the students’ understanding of life in contemporary China.

As one of the world’s great ancient capitals, Beijing is home to some of the finest remnants of China’s imperial past. Its art treasures and universities have made it a center of culture and art in China. Beijing has seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites – the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Ming Tombs, Zhoukoudian, as well as parts of the Great Wall and the Grand Canal. The city is a superb example of the great transformation China has undergone as it burst into the 21st century.

Onsite Staff: The CET Beijing Resident Director is Omega Tennant. Omega is a passionate traveler, published author, and certified nutritional therapist. While double majoring in Asian Studies (Chinese Concentration) and Human and Organizational Development at Vanderbilt University (BS, 2015), Omega studied abroad with CET Beijing in 2013 and later served as campus ambassador before returning to China for the Critical Language Scholarship Program in 2014. Native-born “Georgia peach”, Omega has traveled and/or worked in Peru, Ecuador, China, Tanzania (Zanzibar), Kenya, Brazil, India, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, and Thailand. Of all her travels, Omega has spent most of her time in China and enjoys using creative writing, personal coaching, public speaking, and performing arts to enhance experiences abroad for students.


The program is based at Capital Normal University. CNU is a top tier university in China, with 28,000 students and a longstanding relationship with CET— it hosted the first CET program back in 1982. The CNU campus is large, modern, and filled with resources, including a gymnasium, sports fields, libraries and student centers. There are several subway and bus stops near the campus, allowing students to easily access many areas within Beijing. Renovated classrooms — equipped with air purifiers — are bright, modern, and comfortable, creating the perfect setting for learning Chinese.

Requirements Fulfilled:

General Education - This program fulfills the Global Perspectives general education requirement for students who successfully complete 8 or more semester credits.

Major/Minor Requirements: This program fulfills the overseas study requirement for the Asian Studies major and the World Languages major (with Chinese as primary language). Select courses can be applied to the Chinese minor.

Credits: Credit earned varies based on courses completed but students may earn up to 19 credits. Overloads are not permitted. 


CHIN 145: Chinese Language Pledge and Cultural Immersion (1 credit): Students will improve oral proficiency and cultural immersion skills on the China overseas program by taking a modified language pledge, and meeting with CET staff and Chinese roommates in cultural immersion activities. 

The other credits earned on the program are also CHIN classes. Students take 20 hours per week of Chinese language classes with some of the best teachers in the field. The level of classes that each student takes will depend on the results of a placement test at the start of the program. Students completing CHIN 202 at Lewis & Clark typically place into the Beijing program’s 260 or 300-level. A description of the 301-level classes are listed below:

  • Grammar and Vocabulary - This course emphasizes not only acquiring vocabulary from the text and related materials used in class, but also understanding associated synonyms, near-synonyms and antonyms. Additionally, students receive the specific instruction needed to understand and utilize difficult grammatical terms and structures (including common proverbs, colloquialisms, etc).
  • Drill and Discussion - This task-based class complements grammar class and includes two sections. During drill, the instructor expects the student to not only use appropriate pronunciation, tone, cadence, word usage, sentence structure, and grammar in their speech, but also maintain a minimum speed and level of fluency. During discussion, the teacher pays attention to not only to appropriate use of vocabulary and grammar, but also length and complexity of sentences.
  • Practicum and Report - This course was developed to help students integrate with Chinese society and have meaningful communication with locals. The teacher designs a set of tasks that must be completed outside the classroom with skills developed in class. Students share the results of their practicum with classmates upon return.
  • Supplementary Instruction - Accompanying the texts used in class, movies and recorded audio materials relating to Chinese history, culture and contemporary social issues are introduced and students conduct their own social research. These materials and activities help the students round out their understanding of China and, simultaneously, improve their language skills in all areas.
  • One-on-One - A teacher and a student work one-on-one to overcome that individual student’s weaknesses in language study.

All students uphold a full-time Chinese language pledge, including beginners. There’s no denying that speaking Chinese 24/7 is challenging, but it’s absolutely worth the effort. Upholding the language pledge helps students develop their language proficiency outside of a classroom setting and put into practice what they learn in their classes.

Student Life

Housing: Students share a room with a local roommate in a dormitory on CNU’s main campus. The building is for CET students only in an area of campus where only Chinese is spoken, away from other international students. The recently renovated dorm space is “like a hotel,” in the words of one former student. Rooms offer new furnishings, private bathrooms, and wi-fi access.

For meals, students can cook in the shared kitchen or choose from campus cafeterias, nearby noodle shops, or neighborhood restaurants. Students are responsible for purchasing and/or preparing their own meals, but the Overseas Office will give them a stipend to cover the cost of their food.

Extracurricular Activities: Students have many opportunities to interact with the vibrant culture that Beijing has to offer. Several examples of cultural activities include: experiencing the colors and sounds of a Peking Opera Show, taking a Chinese painting class, learning how to play jianzi (Chinese Hacky Sack) from locals in Beihai Park, cooking dumplings with the teachers, and volunteering at a nonprofit. Each term offers different activities for students to choose from.


2024-2025 Fee Breakdown*

Total Fee (includes Tuition, Program Fee, and Health & Wellness Fee): $40,962

Tuition: $32,197

Program Fee: $8,728

Health & Wellness Fee: $37**

Included in the program fee are room/housing, board/meals, and administrative fees. Not included are airfare, passport and visa expenses, primary insurance coverage, photographs, books, immunizations, and incidentals.  *Fees are updated every February for the following academic year.

**The Health & Wellness Fee supports the operations of Wellness Services staff in delivering pre-program orientation services, as well as in providing health-related consultation regarding participant health needs. All students in the College of Arts and Sciences pay a mandatory fee of $37 per semester.

Stipend: Students will receive a stipend to cover the cost of meals and transportation costs not covered by the program fee.

Estimated Airfare (Round Trip PDX to PEK): $600-$1,500

Estimated Travel Document Fees: CET pays the consular fees if students obtain their visas through the service they recommend.

Estimated Health Insurance Fee: $1,906

All students participating in overseas programs are automatically enrolled in iNext, a supplemental travel insurance program. The fee for iNext is covered in the program cost. However, students are also required to have comprehensive health insurance during their time abroad. All students participating in overseas programs, both abroad and domestic, are automatically enrolled in the College’s student health insurance program. Similar to a regular semester on-campus, students participating in overseas programs may waive enrollment in the student health insurance program if they have other comprehensive health insurance (e.g., through a parent, guardian or employer) that 1) provides coverage for them in the geographic region in which they will be studying and 2) includes mental health benefits. Click here for more information regarding health insurance & overseas programs.

Program Preparation

Application Process: This program has a dual application process. Student must first submit a Lewis & Clark Application. Once admitted by Lewis & Clark, the students will receive instructions for submitting their secondary, or program sponsor, application, and will receive a separate notification letter from CET. Please keep a digital copy of your essays and other application materials as you will need to submit these again to CET or you will need to re-write the essays.  Please note that this secondary application process can be as late as the semester preceding your scheduled participation.

For more information about the application process, click here.

Travel: Students usually fly into Beijing Capital airport (PEK), where they are met by onsite program staff and transported to the orientation.  

Visa: Students will be required to apply for a visa in order to participate in this program. More information will be provided upon admission to the program.

Country-Specific Health Information: Click here to view specific health information for people traveling to China.

State Department Country Information: Click here to visit the State Department’s China page.

Beijing, China